Shining a Light on #SeaHomeless

Everyone wants to know how they can be part of the solution, part of the fight to end the issue of individuals experiencing homelessness. Thanks to the effort of local media organizations, today many will be posting on social media using #SeaHomeless. This year, the “media blitz” on homelessness will focus on solutions to one of the most pressing issues our region is facing, according to an article by Greg Hanscom, Editor in Chief of Crosscut.

At Millionair Club Charity, we believe we can help rebuild lives through jobs. But we know that many of our workers face a variety of barriers to being successful at temporary or permanent employment. How many of us could focus on our daily tasks if we didn’t know where we were sleeping that evening? Or when we’d get to shower next?

That’s why our efforts are called a supportive employment program. Our relationship with our workers doesn’t end when someone gets hired on full-time outside of our program, many of them still live in our transitional housing, Kasota Apartments, or receive meals or take showers at our building. We want to make sure our workers, of which around 70 percent are homeless or unsheltered*, are getting the support they need to be successful in getting a job and keeping that job, so that they can work toward getting housing and rebuilding their lives overall.

We’re looking forward to following the #SeaHomeless conversation and hearing the stories that come from our region’s problem solvers, as well as those impacted by homelessness. We hope you’ll follow along and join in the conversation as well.

*This data is based on self-reporting from workers being onboarded to our employment program. It includes those who are sleeping on the streets, in encampments and shelters.

Bo’s Story: “Living, not just Surviving”

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It was the last place Bo wanted to be: panhandling with a sign that said “anything helps” and living in a homeless shelter.  But a devastating divorce had left him almost penniless and to move forward from this low point in his life he needed help.  

Bo found the help he needed at the Millionair Club Charity. “I am so grateful they saw me for what I really was – a homeless person who was also a worker that wanted to succeed.”

 “When you enroll in their employment program,” continued Bo, “they give you everything you need:  breakfast, shower, laundry,  bus tickets.”   And after three weeks, Bo’s good work ethic was rewarded.  Bo was offered a full time job as a Street Cleaning Ambassador at the Metropolitan Improvement District.   His new income enabled Bo to rent a room at the Millionair Club Charity’s Kasota apartments so he could move out of the homeless shelter.

“Living in a shelter surrounds you with drugs, violence and chaos,” points out Bo. “Now thanks to my room at the Kasota apartments, I can close my door and sleep without interruption.  I am applying to be a green machine operator and saving my money.  I am living, instead of just surviving.” 

Thank you  to all our community partners:  You help ensure that the Millionair Club Charity’s supportive employment program can help hundreds of men and women like Bo rebuild their life.

SHOWERS OF GENEROSITY

THERE WAS A SHOWER OF GENEROSITY TODAY, when a $10,000 check was presented by Carol Nelson, Seattle Market President for KeyBank, to MCC Executive Director Jim Miller in the MCC’s new Shower and Laundry Center. 

The check was the second payment on a $20,000 grant awarded to the MCC to pay for an electrical upgrade of the Millionair Club Charity’s Belltown headquarters.  The increased electrical capacity enabled the MCC to QUINTUPLE the amount of washers and dryers we can utilize for washing our workers’ clothes so that they can be ready for work.

We are thankful for the partnership of KeyBank with our mission.  Key Bank employees are loyal volunteers at the MCC – cleaning our transitional housing units at the Kasota Apartments just last spring.

 Did you know that laundry is our worker’s #1 out-of-pocket expense? 

 

New Project Increases Outreach to Connect Homeless People to Jobs

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United Way of King County, City of Seattle, Millionair Club Charity and Downtown Seattle Association launch Jobs Connect employment project for homeless individuals

 Public private partnership aims to stabilize the lives of homeless individuals in downtown Seattle by rapidly connecting them to unfilled jobs.

SEATTLE (March 23, 2016) –  United Way of King County CEO Jon Fine, joined by Mayor Ed Murray and representatives from the Millionair Club Charity and the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA)  today launched Jobs Connect, a program which connects people living on the streets in downtown Seattle to work.

“We have people on the street who want to work, jobs going unfulfilled and many generous residents who want to help,” said Jon Fine of United Way of King County.  “Jobs Connect is an effective solution, with the potential to create an upward spiral in someone’s life that can make a real impact. “

With the homelessness state of emergency declared in our region, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray with King County Executive Dow Constantine committed new resources to help meet the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness with additional outreach, services and shelter.

“As a community we have lifted thousands of people off of the street and prevented tens of thousands more from becoming homeless,” said Fine. “But homelessness is complex and pervasive and this crisis calls for new and innovative ways to get people back on their feet.”

While no single approach can meet needs of all the people living outside, complementary strategies can have a significant impact in moving people from homelessness to stability. Successfully working and being paid for your labor can have an extremely positive effect on a person, particularly in contrast to the isolating experience of life on the streets.

“We must shift the focus to longer-term solutions to homelessness, more than mats on the floor,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We must talk about opportunity and hope for the future.   I want to thank all the private employers who are making these job opportunities available.  You are giving a precious gift – a brighter tomorrow.”

Economic conditions in our region make this an ideal time to launch the program, as demand for short-term employees is not currently being met. The Millionair Club currently leaves requests for employment unfilled during peak seasons.

Utilizing a mobile strategy, Millionair Club Charity outreach workers are circulating through downtown on foot and in Jobs Connect vans, focused on engaging and enrolling visible individuals.

Supportive services and assistance are provided to eliminate the common barriers that prevent many homeless people from working such as transportation, access to certification, storage of personal items and hygiene facilities.  The connection is rapid, with an assessment and services being delivered on day one, and on-the-job paid training beginning at $12 per hour on the second day.

“People who are living unsheltered find it hard to believe that they’re employable,” points out Millionair Club Charity Executive Director, Jim Miller.  “Their clothes are dirty; they’re cold, hungry, and have a backpack they have to carry around at all times with all their possessions.  Jobs Connect gives us the power to take our message to them where they’re living, bring them back to the Millionair Club Charity, and give them the support they need to be job ready.  It’s an amazingly empowering message for people at their lowest ebb of confidence – and one that will hopefully be the start to getting them into a job and housing.”

At launch, The Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), managed by the Downtown Seattle Association, is the anchor employer for Jobs Connect, offering work with the DSA/MID Clean Team. The clean team patrols the streets of downtown, picking up trash, removing graffiti and pressure-washing sidewalks, among other tasks. The MID identifies how many workers are needed the following day and fills those jobs with Jobs Connect participants.

“The Jobs Connect program allows our DSA/MID Clean Team to cover more ground and keep downtown clean, but there’s also a larger need that’s being met,” said DSA President & CEO Jon Scholes. “This program helps provide a path toward housing and stability to get people on a track that will improve their lives. We’re thrilled to be an anchor employer and to partner with these organizations to address homelessness in our city. The scope of the challenge we face around homelessness requires that we collaborate on new approaches.”

As the program grows to scale, additional downtown employers will be identified who employ workers on an ‘as need basis’ as well as additional employment specialists, outreach workers and Jobs Connect vans.

As the program grows to scale, Jobs Connect is seeking additional anchor employers with ‘as needed’ positions to be filled.

Start-up costs for Jobs Connect have already been raised with an initial investment of $92,000 from the City of Seattle, and an additional $85,800 raised from private philanthropy through United Way of King County. United Way plans to raise an additional $248,300 by July 1, 2016 to significantly expand the program.

Expected first year client contact will number 3,000 individuals with a take up rate of 40 percent.

To learn more about the Jobs Connect program visit www.uwkc.org/ending-homelessness/jobs-connect

February’s Super Successes

This month we have placed seven workers in permanent positions! Congratulations to Dylan, Felicia, Gershon, Jose, Joseph, Skylar, and Tory! These workers have shown initiative by proving themselves in temporary positions, and, through their hard work, were offered permanent jobs. They’ve met the goal we hope to reach with all of our workers.

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We’d also like to thank the following organizations for being our top temporary worker employers in February:

 

Delaware North Sportservice hired 180 of our workers for Century Link sports events. http://www.delawarenorth.com/industries/sports

 

Compass Group hired 36 of our workers for culinary positions. http://www.compass-group.com/

 

Citywide Painting, Inc hired 34 of our workers for painting and construction jobs. http://www.citywidepainting-dec.com/

 

LIHI hired 15 of our workers for apartment and housing maintenance. http://lihi.org/

 

Tom Douglas hired 10 of our workers in food service positions. http://tomdouglas.com

 

We’re grateful for the support we are receiving from our local community- we wouldn’t be able to provide jobs for our workers without it!

Social Innovation Fund Partner Farestart names New Executive Chef

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Wayne Johnson is the new Executive Chef of Farestart. Photographed at Farestart Wednesday, February 24, 2016.

“Every mistake has golden answers inside it,” is just one of the lessons used by Chef Wayne Johnson, who was just named as Executive Chef of Farestart.  Chef Johnson will be heading up Farestart’s program that helps train people who are homeless for careers in the restaurant industry.  Congratulations to Chef Johnson and all the folks at Farestart, who share our honor of being a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund, for our work that brings employment opportunity to people who are homeless.

Find out more:  http://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-drink/wayne-johnson-and-farestart-are-made-for-each-other/

“This gives me hope.”

job club class deanna croppedThe kick-off of a new training series at the Millionair Club Charity called “Job Club” was a great success! Fifteen Millionair Club Charity workers were fully engaged with the interactive knowledge that was being presented by trainer Deanna, who showed how creating new habits with positive outcomes can help move people towards their goals. Among some of the wonderful feedback from job club attendees, “this gives me hope,” resonated amongst many.

Job Club- Three Phases of Trainings

“Job Club” Phase 1–   weekly for 6 weeks-1.25 hours each

This session will cover the basics of resume structure, job skills, safety, and employer expectations in today’s job market. Moving, Housekeeping, Yard Maintenance and earned certificates. Guest speaker/trainers

“Career Club”- Phase 2– weekly for 6 weeks-1.50 hours each

Builds on phase ones topics but gets deeper. This session will include introduction to personal finance, and guest speakers/trainers to give applications of skills to a specific job fields.

 “Executive Club”- Phase 3- weekly for 6 weeks-2.0 hours each

More in depth job specific trainings such as Moving, Housekeeping, Yard Maintenance and earned certificates. Money Management, and life skills and leisure time management.

Serving the most influential people in the world

An event catered by Compass Group.

An event catered by Compass Group.

When the biggest and most influential corporations in the world need food services for their employees, events and special visitors, few do it better than Compass Group.

Compass Group is an international food service management company with more than 220,000 associates across North America alone. One of them is located in Redmond on the Microsoft campus. The task of having to feed tens of thousands of employees daily means Compass Group consistently needs new help to get the job done.

So naturally when Tim O’Brien, Compass Group’s director of operations, catering and a former Millionair Club Charity board member, is looking for new workers to join his staff, he comes to us for assistance.

“We deal with many temp companies and so far the [Millionair Club Charity’s] professionalism and excellent tools are better than the more established organizations,” says Tim.

The workers who have been hired by Compass Group do kitchen prep, cooking, delivery, and event support/logistics. Tim has only kind things to say about our temp-to-hire staffing program.

“Many of our best employees have come from the Millionair Club,” he says.

When our workers first step onto the premises of the Microsoft campus, they immediately hit the ground running to feed all the people spread across 120 buildings. Compass Group feeds everyone, ranging from entry level employees to the CEO and foreign dignitaries. In fact, Tim’s team was responsible for catering the visit of Xi Jinping, the President of China who travelled to the area in late September.

Many restaurants and catering companies tell us they need more and more workers skilled in the food industry, but often struggle to fill their needs. The Millionair Club Charity’s Employment Program is working diligently to train and connect our workers to jobs that are actively hiring right now. Our partnership with Compass Group is a step in that direction.

Our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan

How will the Millionair Club Charity continue to serve men and women in our region who are struggling with homelessness and unemployment?

Find out in our 2015 strategic plan, which outlines how we will create more pathways toward permanent employment, strengthen our organization’s financial base and enhance community awareness through strategic partnerships. The core of our mission has not changed since 1921, but the programs and strategies we use to serve our workers and participants are always being reassessed.

Millionair Club Charity 2015 Strategic Plan

2015 Stratigic

If you have questions about the MillionairClub Charity, our mission or how we are serving our community, please give us a call at (206) 728-JOBS (5627) or e-mail us at info@millionairclub.org.

You’re invited to the Kasota Open House on August 15!

This is your chance to get a good look at what a typical room at our Kasota apartment building looks like.

This is your chance to get a good look at what a typical room at our Kasota apartment building looks like.

Interested in checking out the Kasota apartment units you’ve heard so much about?

On Saturday, August 15 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at 2212 1st Avenue we’re inviting you to our Kasota Open House! This is your chance to look inside the renovated building and see how we’re providing the men and women in our Employment Program a secure place to live.

The Kasota apartment building is a 48-unit affordable housing option for our workers. Complemented with the security that comes with a steady paycheck, our vision is to provide the men and women we serve a sturdy foundation for rebuilding their lives.

Escaping homelessness and poverty can be a daunting challenge. Barriers to employment combined with the high cost of living in the Seattle area contribute to the struggles of so many in our community. The Kasota apartment is one more way we are actively addressing these issues.

At the Kasota Open House, we will take visitors inside a typical room. You will see the furniture, kitchenette and amenities our tenants now enjoy. There is no cost to attend. We hope to see you there!